A dessert that is both charming and customizable, Floating Islands from La Boulange Cookbook: Cafe Cooking at Home are a child's favorite, which is a good sign that they will appeal to all ages. Meringue clouds rest on pools of creme anglaise. Caramel sauce is the final touch.
Tips: Make the creme anglaise the night before you're planning to serve the dessert. That way, you only have to whip up the meringue and caramel sauce, which will still be warm by the time it's dessert.
Tweaks: The book suggests adding lemon zest to the egg white while whipping for a lemony twist. Give it a try; it lightens up the dish and gives it an appropriate note of warmer-weather flavor.
Reprinted with permission by Pascal Rigo. Copyright © 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 8 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Caramel Sauce
- Crème Anglaise
- For the Caramel Sauce
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- For the Crème Anglaise
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Crème Anglaise: Combine the milk and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk to blend, and heat for 2 minutes at high power in the microwave.
Add the sugar to the hot milk and cream mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk well.
Microwave for 1 minute longer, whisk again. Set aside to cool. (You can store the creme anglaise, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.)
Make the Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, vanilla bean, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm while you caramelize the sugar. In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved and turns golden brown.
Add the cream mixture to the sugar, a little at a time, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and continue to stir until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Assemble the floating islands: Gather your ingredients.
In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
In a large bowl, beat the egg white and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar and beat for about 1 minute more.
Line a large plate with parchment paper. Spoon four generous mounds of the beaten egg white onto the plate. Microwave, uncovered, for 30-45 seconds on high power.
Pour enough crème anglaise into a bowl to float an island in the crème and drizzle with caramel. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.